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book 1913 in search of the world before the great war. you are watching book tv on c-span2. >> host: it's been 40 years since this book was published. "fear of flying" is the name of the book and at least 20 million copies sold worldwide. erica jong is the author and she joined us on booktv here c-span2. ms. sub live this book has been described as a feminist treatise. how do you describe that? >> guest: i think it's a novel about a woman trying to find yourself in what is interested me about this book is that all over the world it has been read
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in languages as diverse as chinese serbo-croat and people identify with it. in the beginning women more than men. now men as well as women and they don't think it's a particularly raunchy book although 40 years ago it had that reputation. in 40 years it has never been out of print all over the world. new additions keep appearing and i think the reason is not because of the sex but because it's extremely relatable. people see themselves in it and i'm very proud to have written it. >> host: what sparked your writing this book? >> guest: i can't tell you. i wrote it and rewrote it throughout my 20s. i wrote it from a man's point of view and from a woman's point of view. i finally found the voice for it which was a new york
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wisecracking voice which is made partly. it was the new york kid on the couch. wisecracking, full of yiddish and full of humor. i think that description still holds. henry miller predicted it would make literary history and change the way books were written and actually he is right. women write differently and men write differently because of "fear of flying" so it has turned into a phenomenon which was not about the sex but about liberating a new voice. and i think that is why the book has had this staying power. some people have compared it to holden caufield the "catcher in
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the rye" by salinger. it's been compared to everything. >> host: who is the main character and what are her travels? >> guest: the main character is isadora wayne who has been married for five years to a psychoanalyst. she goes to a conference of psychoanalysts. she is bored with her husband and she runs off with another shrink. sort of going from the frying pan into the fire so to speak. and the book is her journey with the psychoanalysts which is both a journey through the present and a journey into her own past. and during this journey, she finds out about herself and so does the reader. >> host: you wrote ,-com,-com ma regrowth is in your 20s so you are writing it in the 60s, the late 60's and early 70's? >> guest: early 70's, right.
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>> host: was there a feminist angle to this book? >> guest: every book that i write is feminist because i believe that women need more change than we have yet achieved. we have come halfway toward the female revolution but we are not all the way there yet. we are no longer -- we don't yet have paired the end pay. we don't have enough women in the boardroom. we are not yet liberated totally in the bedroom. needs a the boardroom nor the bedroom art equal and so we still have a lot of work to do. >> host: what was the reaction in 1973 when this came out? >> guest: the reaction was enormous and completely contrary. some people loved the book. some people hated the book. i was called a mammoth pudenda of all things.
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>> host: which is what? >> guest: i think it's really what we today can say is a. in those days we couldn't. there was the most different kind of response to this book. some people adored it, underlined it and put asterisks in the margins. i have signed books that have so many underlined pages that there were almost no blank pages anymore. some people hated it and thought it represented the decline of civilization. so, that is a good thing i think when a book in folks so much feeling you know you are onto something. >> host: you started off as a poet raid. >> guest: i started out as a poet. i published eight books of poetry, nearly as many books of poetry but a book of poetry is
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like a rose petal. who notice is? my early books won all kinds of prices that were won by sylvia plath and ws kerwin and so on but my novels have overshadowed my poems which is really not surprising. i still consider myself a poet who fell into the habit of writing novels. >> host: do you still write poetry two-day? >> guest: always sent i think i poetry may well be the best thing i do. >> host: your other novels, overshadowed by "fear of flying" right? >> guest: in many ways. i've published so far eight novels including three wonderful historical novels. one set in ancient greece, one set in 18th century england, one set in shakespeare's venice.
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i don't resent that. i mean very few writers are famous for more than one book. charlotte rongen is only known for jane eyre. three of dickens novels overshadow his other novels. david copperfield, great expectations overshadow all his other books. it is very rare that a writer is known for more than one book. of course i wish people would read my poetry and all my novels because i think i have made a journey and i'm a better writer today, but it's rare for a writer to be known for all her works. >> host: were you fearful when this book came out? >> guest: terrified. absolutely terrified. i wrote with the wind at my back full of fear. i thought i would be hanged
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drawn and quartered. in some ways i have been. i truly didn't know what the result would be. i wasn't sure it would sell at all let alone 27 million which are the current numbers. i had no idea it would be in chinese and russian and serbo-croat amble gary n.. who knew? so it has been an amazing ride. it has taken me that look -- "fear of flying" has taken me around the world with people in all languages saying i identify. >> host: what do men say about the book? >> guest: many different things. some men say it has helped me to understand women. some men say it has made me a sex object. one of the heroes of the book is an asian-american doctor and he says you have made asian-american men.
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everybody thought we just wore pocket pin protectors and were nerds. you have made as a sex object so i got a large variety of her sponsors. >> host: erica jong some feminists have called this pornography and have criticized "fear of flying." >> guest: is not really feminist. many great feminists were also great lovers. charlotte brontë's jane eyre ends up happily married. i don't think feminists have criticized the sexuality but i may have been one of the first feminist to say that you can have equality and also love men. my own life has proved it. i've been married four times. i've been married to my present husband for 25 years. i believe you can be a lover and a feminist in my life proves it.
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>> host: would you compare in any way "fear of flying" to betty friedan's feminine mystique? >> guest: not really because betty's book is nonfiction work and mine is a work of fiction. but again i think there is one similarity and that we are both writing about restlessness, female restlessness and a feeling that we have not yet achieved equality. we still want it but our revolution is not there yet. >> host: we recently interviewed on booktv the president of barnard college. she had just written this book wonder women, sex power and the quest for perfection. "fear of flying" struck a powerful court in 1973. part of its appeal is probably just the sex.
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before flying no woman had written quite so vividly and so old glee about things, about sex etc. but then it really struck a chord is what she says. this is the president of barnard college. >> guest: my college where i have established the erica jong writing fellowship which i support and i began this program at barnard college for young women writers and every year i donate to it to give fellowships to women who want to be writers or editors and publishers. >> host: when you took "fear of flying" india shopped it around in new york how did it to? >> guest: i never shopped it around. i had a poetry publisher which was then called haute reinhardt and winston. they had published two volumes of my poetry and they loved the
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book and took it. it was never shopped. we had a wonderful editor there who was quite revolutionary, who really got the new things that were happening for women and the book express to these things. and he wanted the book and was very excited about it. now, he was not sure it would sell but he had a hunch that it might. then another editor came on board and bought the paperback rights which in those days were divided. she was a very powerful woman in paperback publishing and she made haute send out 200 more galleys which she paid for her because she was so convinced that the book would strike a chord. so these two editors, go one amen, won a woman, really made the book. one death was at how to and has
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never been out of print and the other was at new american library, no penguin and they both believe tremendously in the book. i don't think any of that would have happened without the second wave of the women's movement, without eddie friedan which had knighted a fire of curiosity about women. what did we think? what do we want to? what do we want in bed? what do we want network? what do we want his mother's? all of that was in the air in part to cousin betty friedan's book and i think deborah spahr understands the wail of those things play into each other. >> host: i have to come back to the fact that your original editor was a man. >> guest: absolutely. a very smart man. he was saul bellow's and philip
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roth's editor and he got that i was doing something akin to what philip was doing and what saw was doing and he got it. >> host: erica jong did bookstores refuse this book? >> guest: bookstores never refused it. television networks wouldn't take ads and the first typesetter didn't want to set type but look stores were very happy and sold a lot. >> host: did immediately become a bestseller? >> guest: they never had enough copies in hardcover so it would go on the bottom of the bestseller list and then go out of stock. and then it would go back on number nine or 10 and then there were never enough copies. but then it came out in paperback and sold 3 million copies in the first month. so it just kept going and as i said it's never been out-of-print. >> host: your literary papers are in columbia.
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what does that mean? >> guest: that's right. that means that students, graduate students who want to see all the rough drafts of "fear of flying" and my poetry and by other novels can study them in the rare book room at columbia. i have allowed even undergraduates to study them which is rare. i have allowed them to be open to all students. >> host: people can see the rough drafts and see your writing. is it just people at columbia? ..
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>> if i write a book review, if i write a short piece, i may write on the computer so i can keep the -- you know, i can keep in my mind the length because there's a limit, but when i'm writing a novel or poem, i often write longhand. >> eric jong, this is 40 # years, and will people read this 40 years from now? >> that i can't tell you. i don't know. i hope so. i can tell you that many of the people who have received this copy and reread the book told me it's still very timely and current and very readable.
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i hope we'll find a whole new generation of readers with this edition. >> erica jong, 40th anniversary edition coming out in october. this is booktv on c-span2. >> in light of recent events in syria, booktv is reairing the 2012 program with professor david lesh, author of "syria: the fall of the house of assad," and in the book, he talking about the rise of assad, the faith many mountain west had in him, and his turn to oppression and violence in recent years. this is a little under an hour. >> tonight, we have a program with david lesch. he is a professor of middle east studies and history at t the university in texas, and he's
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been going to syria for, i believe, 23 years? >> what's 1989? 2323 -- twenty-three years, yes. >> the reason i'm excited to have him talk to us tonight, unlike a lot of people who have lots of opinions about syria, david got to know bashar al-assad, which is unique, and after his father died, and now discovered that not to be the case, and there's another book called # "the fall of the house of assad" trying to fill us in. we'll talk about that tonight, and my first question is going to be simply, when did you first
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meet assad, and what were your impressions of him? >> i first met president assad in 2004. i wanted to interview him because he was the a-typical middle east dictator. he was a libsed ophthalmologist, not groomed to be president, and he was only brought back into the political apparatus when his older brother died in a car? 1994. he was in london getting an advanced degree in on the molg, and he was brought back and raised in the state apparatus until he became president when his father died in 2000. i thought that was a very interesting story that he was different from the typical middle east dictators that i stoid throughout modern middle east history, and so in 2002, i contacted a friend of mine who happened to be a minister of higher education, and he was in
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am deem ya, and when traveling to syria for years, i met academics, and being one myself, and bashar brought a lot of people into government, and that was, i guess, good or bad thing, academic thing in government, but many people felt that at the time, you know, being bringing academic tech any karats, they would take the country in a different direction. i contacted minister of higher education who contacted bashar and two years almost to the day later, the ambassador to the -- the syria ambassador of the united states called me up, also a friend and academic in the past, a dean of computer science at damascus yiewfers, and he said, david, it's on. i had forgot about the whole thing. i said, what's on? he said, well, the president wants to meet with you. i met with him in may and june of that year extensively,
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interviewed his wife and any other officials. >> what was the first meeting like? >> well, the, you know, after the pleasant and after i explained why i wanted to do this, i went -- my first substantive sentence to him was, mr. president, you know i'm not an apologist for syria, and i'm going to criticize you in the book. he said, that's fine. i know you will criticize me. i know that -- because i'm not perfect -- and i know that in the past that you criticized my father's policies, but you were always fair and objective. you know, from their point of view. i told him that, you know, mr. president, one of the worst things that you ever did? he goes, what's that? you let it be known you like phil collins music, the rock star from england.
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[laughter] he goes, d puzzled look, thinking, why did we let this guy in here asking me the stupid questions? he said, why? i said, because, you know, in the west, the information was decimated, and it contributed to the profile of him being a modernizing pro-western reformer. he liked western music, he was an ophthalmologist, studied in london for 18 months, going to be completely different than his father, and i said, you know, this created, perhaps, too high expectations in the west for exactly what you want to do and what you're able to do. >> where were your meetings held normally? >> various places. usually the presidential building. it's a very modest building in the damascus, i mean, very modern, a typical kind of middle class residential apartment
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building that was transformed into a president -- called a presidential palace. it's not at all. the people's palace, a grand structure on the top of the mountain overlooking damascus. it was a palace and then some, but he hardly goes there and only meets dig dignitaries ther, and only reason i did one time is because he was meeting with ahmadinejad, the iranian president, and i met -- i met with him just after that, and i think i can say this now considering the current circumstances, but, you know, i asked him, i said, well, mr. president, what do you think of ahmadinejad? he just rolled his eyes and said, oh, my god, basically. >> really. >> yeah. >> he criticized ahmadinejad, yeah?
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>> yeah. i can say that now. i'm probably never going to see him again, fortunately or unfortunately. >> explain how the relationship went on? you got to know him better and better. >> from the beginning, it's difficult; as you know, when you establish a relationship with someone like that and youment to know the person, you have to be objective and keep your distance, and sometimes that's tough. i'm not as professional as you have been in doing that sort of thing, and for professionals, it's difficult. you have to establish the personal relationship, and it's difficult. i try to main tape that distance and objectivity, but we, i think, develop a comfort level to the point where, you know, i
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got to get snippits of him, the person. when you interview presidents like this, about 90% of what they tell you is self-incriminated, will appear in the newspapers over the next week, just stuff i've heard, goes in one ear and out the other, and it's not interesting at all. it's the 10% or 15% of the idea they tell you that is dynamite and the guard is down. we developed the relationship, and he was welcoming, gracious, self-deprecating in the beginning. that changed as time went on, unfortunately, and to the point he let his guard down at time. >> did you meet the kids? >> i did. i met her, interviewed her, and all the interviews were, like,
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two or three hours a piece. it covered a wide range of topics, and she is impressive person, classic english accent, again, someone people had high hopes in in the beginning because she was different. the first couple was difference than in the past. usually, the syria president's wife stayed in the background, and champion of women's rights and trying to create the civil society organizations, although they were independent, but not much is independent. they profiled her before the uprising, called her the rose of the desert or something like that, desert rose, which they were embarrassed about with the uprising. the question is where that has t person gone in whom people had
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high hopes like bashar al-assad, where did that person go? that was the saddest thing about that. they really did develop a level of popularity in the country that was not insignificant. syria's difficult to gauge popularity because sometimes the people come out and support people in support of assad and the government because they don't want to be seen as not supporting the government because of the security services that are all around. it's really difficult to see how genuine and sincere this popularity is, but having been in the country quite a bit and going around the country ape talking to all sorts of classes of people, i really did sense the popularity, and it's saturdayest about it is they didn't implement the popularity and implement change needed, particularly, at the beginning of the uprising, and he mortgaged it away. >> what did you talk to you
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about? >> i interviewedded his elementary school teaches, primary and secretary schoolteachers, and they were not afraid -- which was telling, you know, in authoritarian systems with a quote-on-quote dictator in power, they were not afraid to tell me he was not good at math. he was not good in this particular subject, and, in fact, the parents had to shift schools because he was probably being distracted by girls, and they sent him to an all-boy school, and if you compare that, as i did in the first book, new line of damascus in 2005, and threatened teachers to give them a's, and if they didn't, they
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would kill them or put them in prison. that's the story we get. i have no reason to doubt that. you know, the assad and his wife tried, one of the things, again, that contributed to the profile that was hopeful. you know, they tried to get this normal relationship. sure, it was a privileged family. you can't be the son of the president and not have a privileged lifestyle to some degree, but i interviewed his friends, a number of people, and it was not orchestrated. it was genuine what they told me. this is a pretty normal guy. you know, he liked having friends. he enjoyed music. they like to did out. all these thing that contributed to the profile he was a fairly normal guy, a good family man, all of these things. that's what he and assad tried to recreate. they live in a modest, upper middle class, middle class, upper middle class apartment building where they are, you know, they live on one floor. the mother lives on one floor. right next door to the building,
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and she needs to pull down the shades because people next door look in, you know, to go to the bathroom and stuff like that. they try to recreate a fairly normally as you can upbringing for their own children, so, again, all of these things i learned in the beginning, and these were impressive to me and to many other people which is why, i think, we had hope in him that he would augment some real change. >> now, when did you start to see him change, himself? >> personally, in 2007. i think in a dramatic way. i saw it as early as 2006. the reason is this, in -- after the u.s. led invasion of iraq which syria opposed, and syria turned a blind eye if not helping jihadists cross syria into iraq to kill, you know, u.s. soldiers and allied soldiers, there's a reason why they did that, and they wanted
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it to fail, but as one syria official told me later on, he said, of course we were helping them cross. you know what? we wanted you guys it kill them. that's why we wanted them to go into iraq because we wanted you guys to kill these guys because we don't want them in our country, but get them out, shove them through. unfortunately, they kaled our forces too. in 2005, it was blame on syria by most of the international community, and the pressure just escalated exponentially after that against syria, and people were, you know, in late 2005, were, you know, counting the days for the assad regime. they were syria expatriots, organizations that were just waiting to move in. you know, syria, once assad fell, but he survived that, and i think that really created, in him, a sense of try triumph and
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survivalist that formed his view of the world. if instilled righteousness that he survived the best shots the west took at him, and he was on the right side of history. they really believed that. they had, you know, what i call a different conceptual paradigm of the world. it might be skewed. it might be off. it's completely different than we see it in the united states in the west, and it's based on their own history. it's based on their own experiences. they just have a different view of the nature of threats. it's a very paranoid view, suspicious view of the outside world, that part imagined, part real because there has been just enough, you know, machination by great powers from the outside over the decade, certainly,
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after syria became independent in 1946, became a pawn in the -- between the british and french and regional powers upon, you know, between the superpowers in the cold war so that is their heritage. that's their experience. the arab-israeli conflict, and so that's how they view the world. they see the u.n. and efforts by the u.n. as suspicious and the arab league controlled by allies, like the united states, and they very much view that the outside world is out to get them, and bashar absolutely feels that way. ever since 2005, the west is out to get me, nothing i can do that will satisfy them. why try? i think this is why syria and the united states and the west before the uprising were talking past each other. they had different views of the world.
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you had to be in the world and understand this view of the world, i think, in order to engage with them at a level that they understand and republicked, and it's a shame. for a long time, i was an advocate of improved u.s.-syria relations, not for syria, as some accused me, but it's a wonderful country, but i'm an american, i thought it was best for the united states to have a working relationship with syria so they could cooperate in keeping jihadists out of iraq and cooperate in developing an arab-israeli negotiation that could lead to syria-israeli peace and overall ash-israeli peace. one of the most missed opportunities in middle east history is when syria and israel were so close to the peace grime in 1999-2000. they were this close, this close.
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assad died, unfortunately, and there were other problems between israel and syria bred on suspiciousness and mistrust that caused problems. they were this close. if that occurred, there would have been, after that, syria's the key for a comprehensive arab-israeli peace, and i think the world would be different. hezbollah emasculated, iran wouldn't have the influence they have in the heartland of the middle east, and i think, obviously, the israeli-palestinian feud, perhaps, may have been resolved. some say, well, the palestinians would have lost leverage if syria went away, but on the other hand, israel would have been more secure about the situation and willing to make concessions necessary for the people of palestine. that was the missed opportunity.
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they met secretly in turkey, but then, you know, the problem is the negotiations take so long. something in the middle east -- something happened. if they are not done in a year's time, something happened in the middle east, particularly in the arab-israeli arena, in this case, the israeli raid on gaza. gaza war. at the time, that threw everything back. this another reason i was hopeful that this person and he had people around him who were prowest, and not everybody was. they advocated for relationships with the united states. unfortunately, those people are margin alized right now. it's a different cast of characters. >> as you saw him change, how
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was your relationship with him? did it also change the way you speak of? >> not so much. i mean, again, we established a repore. i think when i really saw him change, and when i noticed it, back to perhaps to finish the thought, was in 2007 in the quote-on-quote reelection, a referendum and the 2007 ruine referendum.s the only one that was a yes-no. when i arrived in damascus, i met him during the election. when i arrived in damascus, i saw something i had not seen previously, and that is the personality cult had been arrived again. he issued the personality cult that grown up around his father. when bashar was in power, the
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pictures of him were taken down in the places, all the banners, so forth, and so on. he wanted to be a normal president who didn't have the personality cult. in 2007, it was back and then some. that told me right then and there he changed, that that, you know, the arrogance of authoritarianism, the arrogance of power. power is an after fro des yak. he was comfortable with power. it's not bad, but in an authoritarian system, if you are comfortable with power, you become the authoritarian ruler. he was becoming more and more that, and i think he was comfortable with that particular position in working within that system instead of changing. instead of changing the system. when i met with him, and we had a very -- most of the time, it was just me and him. we had a very kind of perm, emotional talk, and i said, mr. president, what do you think of all the banners and all of this
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stuff? i half expected him, thinking about the old bashar, he would say, oh, that's just, you know, stuff that people are going nuts, you know, and what happens, you know, syria fell, run by the cousin, and, you know, they get the parades, put some conscious guy, and then the companies and ministries get on board to do it as well, and it mushrooms. it is pretty much half a range, and i half expected -- i really did expect him just to, you know, poo-poo it type of thing, but, instead, he -- they love me, they love me. at that moment, i remember thinking to myself, and i where about it in the book that, you know, it's resinating probably with this audience more than any other, but he had what i call his sally field moment when sally field won the second oscar for "places in the heart," she said, you love me, you really love me, like it was an affirmation. with him, he was through such a tough going over the last year, he was due it, but it was a cay
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that jibing response and real response, the 10% was looking for, and at that time, i said to myself, you really absorbing this and believe this, aren't you? you believe the propaganda. you believe him saying that the well being of the country is synonymous with your well being and you're a prophet sent to save syria. at that moment, i remember vividly thinking to myself, you're a president for life, aren't you? that was the most dramatic and vivid representation of this change i saw in him which, again, i think happens in most authoritarian systems, even with the most well-intentioned authoritarian leaders. >> right, right. he went one more step. >> yeah. >> mubarak generally believed he was a failure for the egyptians. >> uh-huh. >> when they had a million people in tahrir square, he
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didn't have the army shoot. bashar is object dark side now. he's the butcher. where does that come from? was that directly from his dad? i mean, did the very coincidence, which is that when he was threatened, he ordered immediate attacks on hamas, killed 20,000 people in one attack, literally, you know, leveled a city in 1982. they had no more problems. bashar has been different. he engaged in this much lower collaboration of violence. they killed about 20,000 people in 18 months, drip, drip, drip, but it's still 20,000 people dead. mubarak didn't kill 20,000 people in egypt. few people were killed. there was nothing like this. how did bashar make that final
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step over to the dark side that i will kill until no longer challenge, and he must know there's no going back. they are minorities in syria. they lose power, you are slaughtered. how did he make the final step into the dark side? >> well, you hit on, i think, main points as it's seen as an existential conflict. this is something that there is no turning back on each side right now. for me, the answer to that is two-fold. one, i think he really still believes from day one that he is saving the country, that he is protecting the country from chaos even though his policies are, in fact, doing quite the pop sit. i really believe he thinks that way. that's just from knowing how the
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syrians think, how he think, and how righteous they believe they are in their particular policies they are following. in fact, i had one -- i mean, believe it or not, i had one well placed syria tell me they feel they have been restrainedded. they have not released the dog, and they want to. that's the paradigm. secondly, this is how things are done in syria. it's unwrest. that's where the failing is in the whole thing is that he is allowed this the security service leeway in autonomy throughout his time in power. i where in the book about an episode later on in 2007 where i
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was on a blacklist, and anyone who's been in the middle east, you have guns pointed in your phrase. it's not threatening as it seems, i was somewhat threatened, but they try to intimidate you and police you, all this stuff, you have had guns pointed in your face, and, anyway, i got out of that, and i was going to see the president, by the way,. the left hasn't #* hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. i said call the office of the president, please. they understood it was worse for
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them if they didn't call and i was roughed up, whatever, sent back out, than if you did call. he called. he just turned, you know, 50 shades of white because he was appalled, and he became my best friend after that. he wanted my autograph, and he gave me the paper with my name on the blacklist and signed that. i saw the president next day, he said how was your trip, other than the interrogation, it was fine. he was upset and surprised and so forth. i said, look, you know, i'm advocating better relations, trying to present syria in a favorable light, and when i went back from syria, i was giving testimony from a senate foreign relations committee on improving u.s.-syria relations. mr. president, after that
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incident, what if something worse happens, and i say, nuke syria, forget, you know, u.s. syria relations, just nuke the place, and i said, mr. president, i said, you know, politely as i could, mr. president, you have to get vol of the security forces or otherwise it will haunt you, and that's exactly what's happened. they acted as they usually do, writing on the walls in the southern syria city, roughed them up, and in the new circumstances, that was the lighting of the fire for the uprising in syria, and it was that hubris of the security services that he allowed, you know, and he knows that. i mean, he admitted they have excess, but, you know, he indicated it was a necessary evil and dangerous neighborhood, and, you know, that's somewhat
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true, but it's also an excuse to maintain the existence of the security state and maintain the regime in power to it's a combination of those two things. he, in his supporters, they -- three things, they are protecting their positions, it's forces to protect their sect. they really do pleef that this is for the good of the country to save from chaos. that's the mandate, legitimacy of the rule, and i think they lost it because the policies have done the opposite, and three is business as usual. when there's unrest, you stamp it out. that's how things are done. he went with business as usual. >> we have questions from the floor. we have a microphone here. go ahead. >> yes, how do the shiites and
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the sunnis figure in the relationship? >> that's a complex question. , and it's regionalized, and someone asked if i could talk about iran, and one of the complicated conflicts is the regionalized and internationalized between the groups. the regional level, iran and allies, hezbollah, want to keep syria and assad, of course, going. assad in power. they are afraid of losing the conduit into the middle east, conduit of arms to hezbollah and neighboring lebanon. saudi arabia, qatar, sunni country, one turkish, two arab, as well as the united states and others, of course, have been supporting the opposition to
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varying degrees. saudi arabia, in many ways, takes the lead because they are afraid of what they view as the shiite presence developing in the middle east from iran through syria, which is 75% sunn iring's, but there's an offshoot of islam, and the most powerful group is hezbollah, shiite organizations, and so, you know, they want to break that up. the u.s. wants to break that up. israel wants to break up that. the fall of assad is desirable in that sense, although they don't want syria to emasculated plod all together and break up causing a free-for-all of the powers causing regional and international conflicts. that's the danger in this. inside syria it is very, very sectarian. the longer this goes on, the more sectarian it is. because the allowites and
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thoars, christians are 10% of the country, support the assad regime because the assad regime has secularized, and, therefore, you know, will be a buffer, again, any sort of conservative sunni states from developing in syria, sunni-arab regime, you know, as you said earlier, in the aftermath, if that should happen, there could be retrick and revenge against minorities as well who have supported the assad regime, and so the nature of the crisis has become very sectarian where the opposition is almost entirely sunni-arab. they put out a christian in front of the protests, especially early on to try to show it's not sectarian and that
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it's more nationalist in that they are for democracy and all of that, but it's become much more sectarian, almost all the defactors are sunni-arab. the commanders of the various counsels, many lish shas, free syria army, are all sunni-arab supported by sunni states, and turkey, qatar, and ect.. >> where is israel in this? >> kind of quiet? >> yes, and prudently so, quiet in the arab spring because, you know, they are waiting to see how it plays out, and if they voice a position on one side or the other, they could delegitimize groups they want to see rise to power in the countries, so they are prudently waiting and seeing, and it was half the israeli leadership, and i met with them with a number of occasions, and it's like this for years.
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they had, you know, this diametrically opposed view of assad for a belong time. on the one hand, he's the devil we know. he has shown he wants peace with us. he's controlling the country. we don't like everything he does, but what we know him, he's predictable, you know, we carried out attacks app assassinations in syria, not admitted it, but they've done it, and assad doesn't respond in a like way because he can't because of the symmetry, and maybe we want him to make it through, have stability on the border rather than chaos or perhaps ad radical sunni islamist state come to power. the other israelis, the other half, in particularly, the support of the he hezbollah, and
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actions against israel over the years, and they felt they'll take the chance of a situation op their border, but more importantly, it will, you know, emasculate hezbollah and will be a severe blow to iran's position, and that was more important, and i think the israeli leadership has come around more to that position, especially once the international community and once the united states came out officially last august, 2011, saying assad must step down, the israeli leadership slowly came around to thinking that these -- he's going to go at some point, and we might as well accept that, and try to do anything we can, not much, to prepare ourselves for the gaff math, but ultimately, undermiens iran and hezbollah. >> a question right here. >> two questions.
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one, can you give insight into the tony blare's comments with george bush on the microphone? oh, assad is like honey? what were they talking about? they seemed to like him. >> i don't recall that one. i recall the explaytive. referring to the g8 meeting in 2006 when -- during the israel hezbollah war, and bush leaned over to blare and whatever he called him, he said, you know, if we request get syria to stop this, put a four letter explaytive there, that will calm the situation, and what was interesting about, you know, that comment, and bush did not like that after 2003, 2004 particularly, and i asked bashar about that comment, and i said, what do you think of that
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comment by bush caught on tape? again, half expecting him to say, oh, you know, typical this, typical all that sort of stuff, he said, i love it. i love it because that means they are thinking about me. they are worried about me. that is part of syria foreign policy is having some sort of leverage. it's a weak country military militarily. the leverage is through the support of hezbollah, iran, support of hamas and palestinian territories. that's their leverage, which is why they don't give up the things in negotiations in the beginning, maybe at the end of the negotiations they will, and so that told me it was enlightening having more leverage than they have.
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>> [inaudible] fulfilling his father's dream because that was the thing with the former that he went in and got rid of people. now we have the same thing going on which seems pretty silly. >> uh-huh. >> it's almost psychological thing with him. >> you know, good question, and i remember responding to a question recently, a similar-type question, and that got me to think. a question i would ask if i saw him today, mr. president, so do you think you understand why your father did what he did in 1982? if i would ask that question, and in some ways i did, you know, earlier on, and he avoided it, but tried to mark a different path, but i wonder if today he would say, you know, now i understand.
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now i understand in the face of uprising, supported by pernicious forces from the outside, you know, that are working with accomplices on the inside that this is necessary of the yes, it's bloody this is a necessary evil and keep the country together over the long term m i think that's probably how he sees it. it's a shame. i mean, obviously. >> [inaudible] do you think he would unleash chemical warfare, and one reason he doesn't -- [inaudible] is >> yes, you answered your own question, yes, absolutely. you know, president obama has gone on record saying that would be a red line, and that might be the thing that trips, activates a more aggressive american response. that reminds me on what the vice
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president said in the 1991 gulf crisis said something similar, you know, some people suggest saddam held back on chemical weapons because that was just as a trip wire for a more violent response. as mentioned earlier, and as i wrote in the book, i where about this collaboration, and from the beginning, i think the -- the assad regimes, they did not want, you know, in 1982 hamas massacre. that would galvanize the community. they know that the international community does not want to go in this. they know the united states doesn't want to go in this, and for good reasons, by the way. we don't understand the landscape. we don't understand what's going on. the position is fragmentedded -- fragmented and divided, and we ordered the opposition group blind my in afghanistan in the 1980s against the soviet occupation, and look what
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happened. it came back to bite us. we have to understand these things, and, certainly, in an election year, we're never going to do anything like that. it's just different situations. it's apples and oranges. syria is much more complex in so many different ways. he knows that. as long as there is no hamas or chemical weapons, and i don't think they use them unless it's the last regime about to go out in flames or as saddam tried to do in the gulf war that launched rockets and tried to turn a persian gulf war into an arab-israeli one, that's a danger, something policymakers are concernedded about. the only problem with that is that when you up leash this, you
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can't carefully collaborate it or control it, and especially with the military groups fanatically supporting the assad regime, most of them doing it just to make a living and to protect their communities. giving regimes plausibility to live with the atrocities, and they carry out the worst atrocities, and you can't control them. you know? they, i think, something could happen. when you unleash the situation, and it's getting more violent, and the syrias are starting to do things they have not done in the beginning, starting to use the helicopters, and the jet, and the bombs, and so it's to the point where if doesn't become scrutinizedded in the western media, and so it has, you know, in many ways, and the
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news cycle covers something else. the conventions, and so forth, and something compels the international community to act, that's when it might happen, but he knows they are reluctant. >> thank you for the presentation. i read the book, and you brought out very important points about what is happening in the middle east versus the west's interpretation of how we coexist together. assad realizes this or at least he feels as though this is outside people who are making all this happen. we, as a country in america, said, we're leaving now, going to asia as far as focus is concerned, and the bad guys take the territory, and that's what's
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going on, and that leaves benjamin netanyahu and israel leaving isolated. how do you feel that plays out? >> uh-huh. in terms of arab-israeli or in terms of -- -- >> [inaudible] >> well, we are in a situation with the arab spring where it's a tumultuous time. it takes a generation to play itself out. i think there's going to be convulsions for the next 10-20 years that we have to deal with at some level. up fortunately, with these convulsions, there's not much incentive for peace. there's, you know, i always thought that for an arab israeli peace, that you have to have all
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of the important players, the leadership, the leaders to be committed to it, you know, israel, the united states, syria, whoever. palestinian leadership. they have to be on the same boat. there's been progress during those time, but, unfortunately, shotgun happens, and one is assassinated, african-american benjamin netanyahu comes to power in 1996, and perez before that, made some -- and presidents have been in power who go back and forth between emphasis on these issues because we're a global power and, as you said, we have global interests, and we shift -- we turn the page. need people in the middle east live, eat, and breathe this stuff, and it's amazing how little time really that presidential administration, and in a crisis situation looks at that particular thing because we have global interests and we
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have to think of china, think of this, and i see a lot of convulsions, a lot of unknowns, u.s. policy adjusting and readjusting as best they can to the unpredictable situations, and, you know, there is a lot of -- in my view, there's a lot of opportunity in the wake of the arab spring, and i know a lot of us are worried about what type of regimes are coming to power in egypt and tunisia and libya with the muslim brotherhood. i'm less fearful of that. you know, this is new. i mean, they have political space. what's that? you know, one of the things i talked to some of you about the antiislammic film that came out
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in reaction to, this and, you know, it's different conceptual paradigm looking at reactions to this. yeah, it was a terrible film, $5 million budget, really? somebody pocketed a lot of money. it was insulting, an awful fill. , but that's no reason to kill people in response to that. from the -- in the arab world, in the muslim world, i mean, the response -- there is outrage, there is muslim leaders taking vang of this, and it reminds me of the hostage crisis in iran in 1979 where revolutionary guards captured the 52 u.s. hostages in the embassy. that was much as a domestic political gain to oust the maneuver and out blank some other forces in the revolutionary movement as it was aimed at the united states. a lot of the reactions are part of that, and they could be some last gasts of more extremist elements in the country trying
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to make their mark in a situation that is -- where there is more political space. one of the very few good things about authoritarian regime is they collaborate protests. i've been in the industry when they say we're about to have a protest. get out. you know, and they go and bus students from the university, they get all the security agents. they go to companies and say, all four on board, we're going to protest the u.s., throw rocks, eggs, breach the thing, and spray paint the windows. they know to know that's it 6789 there's not that now. these are regimes that are week, bean maybe in the long run, that's probably a good thing that they are not the authoritarian regime, but these are the con vumtions that happen. as far as the paradigm, remember this. this is a shame, is that most of
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the people protesting against this film were brought up in authoritarian environments where nothing was produced unless it was sanctioned by the government, nothing. no film, no books, nothing. they look at the world from their view point. they think this film had to be captioned by the u.s. government because that's what happens traditionally there. when they don't, you know, they have not experienced freedom of expression which we have and enjoy in this country. they don't understand. speaking of the 1979 revolution when carter hosted the bashar in 1978, and there were protests. there's protests of all sorts in front of the white house every single day, and these were american-iranians and antishaw, you know, whatever, protesting,
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and they saw it concluding that the u.s. is abandoning the shaw because we would not allow these protests unless it was a clear signal we are abandoning, and they thought from the own experience this does not happen in teheran unless it's orchestrated by the government, and so that energy jizzed them, and they are protesting, and that's a different paradigm of the world. >> one more question. >> can you explain the russian position and putin, and assad, this to do with russia and america or what are they trying to point out in the relationship? >> good question. it's many different levels. russia has, of course, they have a relationship -- there's practical mistakes. they have an arms relationship, sell arms to syria, and with the
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loss of business, and lots of business and clients in libya, you know, arms in syria are that much more important, and they have a port -- russia's, a small thing, but it was not kept up until recently, russians upgraded it, but it's their only port. these are practical aspects, and in the larger sense, there's a lot of institutional inertia in the relationships. you know, syria and the soviet union in russia had a long standing relationship. not always fruitful, not always seeing high-to-eye, but there's a long standing relationship, and there's a bureaucratic institution where there's institutionalization of the relationship that's hard to change at the lower and mid levels of the pure bureaucracy,d dip mats and so forth, you can't just say, okay, we're going to quit this.
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putin knows that. in addition, you know, putin is running foreign policy now. there were disagreements when president was president and switched places earlier this year, and when he was president, he was the one that abstained on the u.n. security counsel on libya. putin was critical of that, and there was something of a split between the two, and putin, once he, you know, he starts to assert himself in the foreign policy arena by the fall of the 2011, and this is why the russians have vetoed, you know, successive attempts by the u.n. security council to take more resolute action by the syria regime, and, plus, you know, the russians feel they were duped over libya. that was the resolution to protect civilians, and they feel that nato and the u.s. used it in offensive ways to unseat, you know, gadhafi. also, there was a real vibrant,
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tangible russian nationalism. they see protests that occurred in russia earlier in the year against putin. they see the hand of the united states in this. that's why they kicked out some of the -- kicked out some of the ngo organizations that was supported by the u.s. in the last few days. they -- putin, almost his position similar to the assad, they don't like change in the middle east. they feel that u.s. intervention in iraq and afghanistan failed and made the entire middle east worse. they don't want to see it happen again in syria, and, osks, that protects their interest. there's last area in russia in the middle east to be relevant in the middle east. they have to be careful. i mean, you know, the united states -- i keep bringing this up, but great example on so many level the, but the united states
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is stuck with assad too long, and, you know, we incurred the wrath of the population. when do you cut ties with a leader in the country, and you go down with theship, and i know russians are having discussions in the kremlin, you know, about this, how long do we stay with this guy? this has become, you know, an international test of power between the united states and russia, and russia is asserting itself riding this nationalist response against the u.s. influence that's been going on for about, you know, a decade now. i don't see it changing any time soon. you'll know that the regime is falling when the russians change their tune. >> david, it's been really fascinating, and i read both your books, and the most
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interesting metaphor was he was not meant to be the godfather, but it was his brother, and his brother, of course, had a bloody end, and michael is the godfather, and really becomes the godfather and gets worse and worse. >> yeah. >> that to me 1 the most spine chilling thing watching bashar get worse and worse. >> bashar now is michael at the end of "the god father 2", and at the end of the first one, he said i'll change the family business, make it right, and at the end of the second one, he became his father. >> on that note, we say good night to everyone. thank you so much for coming. >> thank you, all. woo
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>> next, encor book notes, monica talked about her book, nixon, "off the record" with brian lam in 1996 based on recordings of conversations of the former president had with her and others while she was his assistant from 1990 until his death in 1994. she related his opinions on various leaders and issues and whhe

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CSPAN August 31, 2013 4:45pm-6:01pm EDT

Radley Balko Education. (2013) 'Rise of the Warrior Cop The Militarization of America's Police Forces.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY U.s. 12, United States 11, Israel 9, Russia 8, Iran 5, Hezbollah 5, Damascus 5, Us 5, U.n. 4, Libya 4, Drip 3, New York 3, Columbia 3, Bashar Al-assad 2, Betty Friedan 2, Benjamin Netanyahu 2, Erica Jong 2, Jane Eyre 2, Iraq 2, Qatar 2
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